Escape- Dynamite Escape Plot
Escape! – Dynamite Escape Plot
In the last week of May 1954, prison officials at Boggo Road Gaol received a warning from inside the prison that an escape had been planned and that they were to blast their way out with dynamite!
The prisoners were four habitual criminals and two “tankmen” or “safe blowers”. The men, all with the necessary experience to pull this off, needed help from the inside. They had just the right man in mind. This man, however, would be the downfall of the entire plot.
One Sunday morning after the usual Sunday sacred services and concert, the six prisoners were to rush to overpower the guards of the inner gate and demand the front gate keys. Should they be refused, the “tankmen” under the protection of two prisoners with guns would dynamite the two heavy steel doors of the gaol.
Guns and dynamite would be smuggled in from “contacts” on the outside and further assistance to complete the escape would be provided afterwards.
Ratted them out
The warning of the escape came via a most unlikely source – a notorious Melbourne underworld big shot, Norman Bradshaw alias Cornelius. Bradshaw was serving an eighteen-month stint for false pretences. Bradshaw named the six prisoners involved in the plot, claimed they wanted him to be in it. Likely they wanted his worldly contacts to help with providing the essentials for the escape.
Bradshaw thought that by ratting them out, he would secure himself a remission of sentence under the criminal code for his good deed. However, the code does not allow for such remissions. Instead, Bradshaw would be under very close watch for any retribution from the other prisoners.
The six prisoners were separated as a result of the subsequent investigation. Each received an a
dditional three months to their sentence for attempted escape. Two of the more troublesome were sent to Stewarts Creek prison in Townsville. The others widely separated into the most secure wings of Boggo Road Gaol.
Unfortunately, even in the most secure prisons, revenge will strike. Bradshaw was attacked by prisoners several times over the coming months. Eventually locked away for his own safety, he would serve his last six months in solitary confinement.
This Sunday come behind the giant red brick walls and heavy steel gates and hear about some of the desperate prisoners that tried to escape Boggo Road Gaol and some of the few that succeeded. You can book your tickets here
This article was contributed by Research Coordinator Sue Olsen as part of the ongoing research program for Boggo Road Gaol Pty Ltd. The aim of the program is to bring to light and share articles relating to Boggo Road for the purposes of review and study. Do you have a story to share or something you would like us to know about? You can contact the research team here